Count Mikhail Nikolayevich Muravyov, a Russian imperial statesman infamous for his policies of forced Russification across the empire, died on the 12h of September, 1866.
Born in Moscow in 1796, Muravyov worked hard in what is now Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus to suppress nationalism by targeting religion and language. Catholic churches were torn down, and schools teaching in Polish and Lithuanian languages were closed. Russian teachers were brought in from elsewhere to take over the education system.
A Catholic church in Vilnius being torn down in 1877.
Additionally, the Roman alphabet was banned, and replaced with Cyrillic.
Similar policies were put in place by Russian officials in other regions – particularly Ukraine – and continued to be used by the Soviets.
Muravyov was recorded as saying: ‘What the Russian rifle did not succeed in doing, will be finished off by Russian schools.’